The agility and scalability of cloud-based networks have long been lauded, and providers like Microsoft’s Azure, Amazon’s AWS and Google Cloud Platform now power more than half of the global cloud market. The sector has only increased its dominance thanks to pandemic-fueled surges in online shopping and remote collaboration tools. While some industry watchers are predicting the field has settled into a sales-driven fight over market share, there are still large areas of opportunity for innovators.
Much of this opportunity comes from the increased workload requirements of enterprise organizations moving massive systems onto cloud servers. In addition to bandwidth concerns, cloud-based enterprise systems also pose heavy security challenges. Here, we take a look at three San Francisco tech companies moving cloud computing technology forward.
Bringing HPC to the Cloud
High performance computing resources are required to design self-driving cars, engineer spacecraft and other complex R&D work. Historically, that demand for computing resources restricted the workspace to on-premise servers — but no longer. Rescale has produced a high-powered computing platform that spans cloud, on-premise and multi-cloud environments, so enterprises can perform growing workloads on the cloud, while simultaneously managing cost and performance. The company recently released an intelligent control plane, which combines software-defined computing, hardware-based acceleration and performance intelligence to help deliver high-performance computing.
Rescale launched in 2011, and quickly attracted investments from the likes of Sam Altman, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson. The company matches clients’ software applications to its HPC infrastructure and custom combinations of cloud and on-premise servers to support resource-intensive computing operations.
IT professionals want to make informed data-driven decisions on their hybrid and multi-cloud operations.”
“IT professionals want to make informed data-driven decisions on their hybrid and multi-cloud operations,” VP of Product Edward Hsu said as the company announced its intelligent control plane. “With the intelligent control plane approach to HPC, they can both make informed decisions, and take immediate action to be strategic partners to the businesses they support.”
Computing on the Edge
According to a recent blog by Fastly Senior Product Manager Dom Fee, one of BuzzFeed’s most popular posts of all time has a healthy dose of notoriety among its engineers. Dubbed “The 100 Greatest GIFs of all Time,” the post features — obviously — a hundred different GIFs stacked on top of one another. The enormous bandwidth consumption of such a post meant the company’s mobile engineers had to implement a workaround: forcing users to hit a “play” button to view each GIF independently. With more than 70 percent of the company’s traffic coming through mobile, the team had to find a better way.
A more permanent solution came in the form of Fastly’s Image Optimizer product, an edge computing system that resizes, adjusts quality, trims, changes orientations and converts formats on demand. Fastly recently released a feature that converts GIFs to MP4 videos, which condensed that troublesome BuzzFeed story from a 250 MB down to just 6 MB.
Delivering a smooth video experience on mobile is integral to any digital transformation strategy.”
“Clearly, delivering a smooth video experience on mobile is integral to any digital transformation strategy,” Fee wrote. “This isn’t true just for digital publishing though. For example, other use cases for the animated-GIF-to-MP4 feature include more efficiently showcasing a 360-degree product spin animation for e-commerce sites, and optimizing demonstration videos on educational sites.”
Know Your System
For system administrators and cybersecurity professionals, much of their day-to-day duties involve monitoring networks for anomalies that may belie the presence of an intruder. But as systems sprawl across devices, locations and multiple cloud platforms, the sheer volume of traffic can be hard to grasp. A number of automated programs have cropped up in recent years, including a continuous monitoring solution by cloud security firm Qualys. As Director of Product Management Felix Jimenez explained in a recent blog post, continuous monitoring software keeps an automated eye on new assets discovered through visibility scans, detects possible malware vulnerabilities and prioritizes the monitoring of designated portals, among other functions.
Continuous monitoring is just one of the more than 20 solutions comprising Qualys’ Cloud Platform, which also features IT, security and compliance apps. The idea is to provide an end-to-end security solution so users don’t have to manage multiple security vendors at once.
As security professionals, we struggle with the high volume of data we need to sort through.”
“As security professionals, we struggle with the high volume of data we need to sort through while trying to parse out the critical alerts that are important for us to take immediate action upon,” Jimenez wrote. “(Continuous monitoring) enables you to proactively identify and address potential issues by monitoring for changes to your systems before they can be compromised and turn to breaches by getting email alerts.”